Greater Manchester Fringe returns


After a 2020 event dogged and eventually cancelled after three postponements, Greater Manchester Fringe returns in September (1-30) and tickets are now on sale for more than 60 shows at venues around Greater Manchester.

The programme contains world premieres, one-act dramas, solo shows and historical dramas - including one about Manchester’s famed Victorian detective, Jerome Caminada (Dirty Old Town by Rob Johnston, Greater Manchester Police Museum, September 20-25) and a farce by TV comedy legend Nigel Planer (All Above Board, Salford Arts Theatre, September 13). You can even immerse yourself in “Rocky Horror meets Charlie’s Angels” in glittery cabaret musical Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens ((Teal Heart Productions, September 7-11, Tribeca, Sackville Street, Manchester).

Familiar fringe heroes such as former award-winner Colin Connor (left) also return, this time in Samuel Beckett’s classic Krapp’s Last Tape (King’s Arms Salford, September 26-28).

As in previous years, venues include Altrincham Garrick Playhouse; Antwerp Mansion; Chapeltown Picture House; the International Anthony Burgess Foundation; the reopened, refurbished King's Arms; Lock 91; Moston Small Cinema; Parr Fold Park Bandstand; Salford Arts Theatre; The Empty Space (formerly Footlights in Media City); the Aldridge Studio at the Lowry; The Boat Shed at Ellesmere Port; the Peer Hat and Tribeca.

The Greater Manchester Fringe started in 2012 with half a dozen venues and a handful of shows at each one. But it rapidly gained a hold among independent theatre fans and performers, and had grown each year until last year when coronavirus shook the world and forced the festival’s cancellation.

Not all venues from previous years have thrown their hat into the ring this time: some have closed as an inevitable result of last year’s enforced lockdowns, and others have reopened to restricted access.

Director Zena Barrie said: "So many people want to get out there and perform: we had more than 200 registrations. There have been some venue closures, and some now have lower capacity. but our performers are very resourceful.

“People have performed fringe shows in all sorts of unusual spaces including pubs, camper vans, tents, museums, a Roman fort and even a crypt. This year we even have a venue in Ellesmere Port that wanted to take part." The range of shows this year is large and varied and the best place to find out more is at the GM Fringe website here, where you can also book tickets. You can also follow the latest news of the festival on the GM Fringe Facebook account.